Laurie Krasny Brown is a fine artist as well as an author, parent, and educator with a master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and a doctorate in human development from Harvard University. She has written many books for children, including the popular Dino Tales: Life Guides for Families series, which has sold over 1.5 million copies to date.
A little bit like a comic book, sort of a reference bookit's hard to classify this latest work from the Browns, but that's all right. Both children and parents will use this as they wish, for it faces head-on the emotional (sadness, anger) and physical (separation from loved ones, what to call your new father's ex-wife's children) problems of divorce. It's comprehensive, reminding kids to take care of themselves and to think of how others are feeling. If children spend time in two households, this book shows them the way to get along with the people and the rules in both. Dinosaur characters distance the readers if a situation in the book too closely mirrors their own. The pictures lighten up serious text, which in turn keeps the picturesand a child's worryfrom seeming silly and insignificant. Divided into sections like ``Why Parents Divorce,'' ``Living with Stepparents'' and ``Celebrating Holidays,'' parents can use this book to help their children understand sudden or impending changes. Divorce, for the picture-book age group or any child, is a difficult subject. Here readers will be reassured that just as the little dinosaurs survive divorce, so will they. (4-8)
Gr 1-3 Children familiar with the Browns' Dinosaurs Beware (Atlantic, 1983) and Marc Brown's ``Arthur'' books (Atlantic) will delight in this new foray into an area of deep concern for the youngest readers. Sympathetic to the full range of feelings that divorce produces, the authors use evocative cartoon dinosaur characters to convey their message. Chapters address such concerns as why parents divorce, what will happen to ``me,'' where will holidays be celebrated, living in two homes, etc. Expressively illustrated with accompanying succinct text, this upbeat, straightforward treatment of a potentially confusing, traumatic childhood experience is comprehensive. Prediction: this will become a real ``security blanket'' for those young readers in need. Mary Lou Budd, Milford S. Elementary School, Milford, Ohio.